26 Birthday Cakes I’d Like To Weep Gently Into This Year


Hello, big bad world! It’s almost my birthday! Aging is so fun, and so is thinking about it and having attention drawn to it! After all, there’s so much to celebrate: Moving past the age at which I thought I’d have accomplished pretty much all of my life goals without having accomplished all of said life goals, aging out of my mother’s health insurance, continuing to be too old to drink the way I once drank in order to cope with my existential crises about aging, and no longer being closer to twenty than thirty, for starters! Here’s to becoming 26 in the midst of my infamous #SummerOfSelfSabotage and feeling very great about it.

Honestly, though, I front like I hate birthdays but I’m a Leo so some parts of the whole “growing up” and “becoming an adult” and “Carmen when are you getting your life together thing” really do appeal to me — specifically parties thrown exclusively in my honor, birthday cards I wasn’t expecting you to send, gifts that come in large boxes even if the gift itself is small, telling other people where to meet me and having them actually show up and then probably buy me drinks and food, etc. — which is why despite my perennial terror about wasting my youth I wrote an entire open thread to goad y’all into wishing me a happy birthday.

But I digress. The point here is that in order to stave off my angst about being too old to vomit in the street but too young to die and (unrelated but just for your reference) the crumbling of my moral fiber, I decided this year to find 26 birthday cakes that would make me feel fabulous instead of near to the brink of my irrelevance. I probably won’t bake them, because baking is not in my wheelhouse, but I do like looking at them. (If you bake one for me, I’ll do everything I can to change your world before everything falls apart and I drive into the desert instead of emailing you back.)

1. Flamingo Pool Float Cake


2. Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

chocolate chip cookie cake

3. Turtle Chocolate Layer Cake

Turtle Chocolate Layer Cake

4. Coconut Key Lime Rum Cake

Coconut Key Lime Rum Cake

5. Salted Caramel Kentucky Butter Cake

Salted Caramel Kentucky Butter Cake

6. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cake


7. Orange Dreamsicle Cake

Orange Dreamsicle Cake

8. Milk and Cookies Cake

Milk and Cookies cake

9. Strawberry Cream Dream Cake

Strawberry Cream Dream

10. S’mores Cake

S’mores Cake

11. Cake Batter Cheesecake


12. Malted Chocolate Cake

Malted Chocolate Cake

13. Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake

Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake.

14. Sno-Ball Cake


15. Banana Split Layer Cake

Banana Split Layer Cake

16. Cotton Candy Layer Cake

Cotton Candy Layer Cake

17. Donut Cake

donut cake

18. Berry Cake with Lemon Cream Mousse


19. Almond Cream Cake

Almond Cream Cake

20. Strawberry Triple Layer Cake

Strawberry Triple Layer Cake

21. Billionaire Cookie Dough Cake


22. White Chocolate Raspberry Cake

white chocolate raspberry cake

23. Homemade Confetti Cake with Cotton Candy Cloud Frosting


24. Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

25. Banana Pudding Layer Cake

Banana Pudding Layer Cake

26. Mint Chocolate Layer Cake

Mint Chocolate Layer Cake

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. Can confirm that the lemon blueberry layer cake is amazing. I brought it to work once for a party, and one of the attendees actually paid me to bake another one to impress her in-laws who were coming into town.

    I must try that Snoball cake soon. I had no idea I was missing this beauty in my life.

    Happy birthday Carmen!

  2. #26 looks soooooo good! My b’day just passed. But I think I have to have it anyway!!!

  3. That Lemon Blueberry cake and the Orange cake have got me in. No idea what a “Dreamsickle” is but the whole thing looks inspiring.

    Happy soon to be Birthday Carmen! You lucky little 26 yr old, you.

  4. Carmen! You are a Leo??? OMG! The sweet, super smart lesbian who helped me realize I am a translesbian and was my first true love as a female was a Leo!!!
    And so …. now I know how wonderful you ARE!!! You are the center of the universe! All of us circle around you!
    26, old? Pish posh!! I’ll send you a huge box full of 26 kittens and 26 puppies! And ship you a ginormous truckload of kitty and puppy food, too!
    You never age if you have kitties and puppies!!! It’s been proven!!
    Leos rule…. you rule!!
    And I’ll clean up after you, if you decide you need to vomit in the street again!
    Happy Birthday!! And tell Hillary hello!?

  5. omg that flamingo cake is everything! Way too unskilled/lazy to make it but I wish someone would make
    it for me! It reminds me of Pride in San Diego where a club was giving out inflatable pink flamingos!

  6. When I woke up this morning, I didn’t realize cake was in my future. But now I know I will be making one of these very soon.

    And if you’re still in Philly when I do, I’ll save you a piece! Have a wonderful birthday, hope the rain stops for you.

  7. Something terrible compels me Carmen

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kyn9Es4HoY&w=560&h=315%5D

    I’m broke and out of…stuff so I’d share dollar store Twinkies with you.
    If I wasn’t I’d make you doughnut muffins which have a horrific amount of butter in them and frost them with flavoured (one of those ridiculous colorful flavour packet things) frosting then add chocolate shaving with sprinkles.
    Or rainbow cake with edible glitter.
    Everyone loves rainbow cake.

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